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Orange Shirt Day: First Nations and Residential Shcools

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on 27 September 2017

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Transcript of Orange Shirt Day: First Nations and Residential Shcools

Orange Shirt Day: In support of Aboriginal Residential School students
September 30th acknowledges the third annual National recognition day for the 150,000 Indian Residential school aged First Nations, Inuit and Metis children who attended Indian Residential schools across Canada.
(At Mount Slesse Middle we will be wearing orange on September 29 to show our support of Residential School survivors)
What do you need to know about residential schools?
1) Residential schools existed from 1830 - 1996. They were established by the Canadian government and designed to control and transform Aboriginal people.
“I went to the Mission for one year. I had just turned 6 years old. We never had very much money, and there was no welfare, but somehow, my granny managed to buy me a new outfit to go to the Mission school in Williams Lake. I remember going to Robinson’s store and picking out a shiny orange shirt. It had eyelets and lace, and I felt so pretty in that shirt and excited to be going to school! Of course, when I got to the Mission they stripped me, and took away my clothes, including the orange shirt. I never saw it again, except on other kids. I didn’t understand why they wouldn’t give it back to me, it was mine! Since then the colour orange has always reminded me of that and how my feelings didn’t matter, how no one cared and how I felt like I was worth nothing.
“I am honoured to be able to tell my story so that others may benefit and understand, and maybe other survivors will feel comfortable enough to share their stories. I want my orange shirt back!”
--Phyllis (Jack) Webstad, Dog Creek BC
Phyllis’s orange shirt is a symbol of so many losses experienced by those who were sent to Indian Residential Schools over several generations. Losses of family, culture, language, freedom, parenting, self-esteem and worth were experienced by everyone.

“I went to the Mission for one year. I had just turned 6 years old. We never had very much money, and there was no welfare, but somehow, my granny managed to buy me a new outfit to go to the Mission school in Williams Lake. I remember going to Robinson’s store and picking out a shiny orange shirt. It had eyelets and lace, and I felt so pretty in that shirt and excited to be going to school! Of course, when I got to the Mission they stripped me, and took away my clothes, including the orange shirt. I never saw it again, except on other kids. I didn’t understand why they wouldn’t give it back to me, it was mine! Since then the colour orange has always reminded me of that and how my feelings didn’t matter, how no one cared and how I felt like I was worth nothing.
“I am honoured to be able to tell my story so that others may benefit and understand, and maybe other survivors will feel comfortable enough to share their stories. I want my orange shirt back!”
--Phyllis (Jack) Webstad, Dog Creek BC
Phyllis’s orange shirt is a symbol of so many losses experienced by those who were sent to Indian Residential Schools over several generations. Losses of family, culture, language, freedom, parenting, self-esteem and worth were experienced by everyone.


The story of Phyllis Webstad and the reason for the "orange" shirt.
“I went to the Mission for one year. I had just turned 6 years old. We never had very much money, and there was no welfare, but somehow, my granny managed to buy me a new outfit to go to the Mission school in Williams Lake. I remember going to Robinson’s store and picking out a shiny orange shirt. It had eyelets and lace, and I felt so pretty in that shirt and excited to be going to school! Of course, when I got to the Mission they stripped me, and took away my clothes, including the orange shirt. I never saw it again, except on other kids. I didn’t understand why they wouldn’t give it back to me, it was mine! Since then the colour orange has always reminded me of that and how my feelings didn’t matter, how no one cared and how I felt like I was worth nothing.
“I am honoured to be able to tell my story so that others may benefit and understand, and maybe other survivors will feel comfortable enough to share their stories. I want my orange shirt back!”
--Phyllis (Jack) Webstad, Dog Creek BC
Phyllis’s orange shirt is a symbol of so many losses experienced by those who were sent to Indian Residential Schools over several generations. Losses of family, culture, language, freedom, parenting, self-esteem and worth were experienced by everyone.

2) The intent of the Residential School System was to educate, assimilate, and integrate Aboriginal people into Canadian society.
3) Attendance at residential schools was mandatory for Aboriginal children across Canada, and failure to send children to residential school resulted in the punishment of parents, including imprisonment.
4) The federal government and churches operated over 130 residential schools across Canada. The number of active schools peaked in 1931 at 80. The last federally-administered residential school closed in 1996.
6) Over 150, 000 children attended federally-administered schools.
5) It is estimated that there are approximately 80,000 Residential School Survivors alive today.
What was the Residential School experience like?
Many Aboriginal children were taken from their homes, often forcibly removed and separated from their families by long distances. Families were often not permitted to visit their children unless on official visits.
Students were forbidden to speak their language or practice their culture.
Man In the 1870’s, the Government of Canada partnered with Anglican, Catholic, United, and Presbyterians churches to establish and operate boarding and residential schools for Aboriginal (First Nations, Inuit, and Métis) children.

• The intent of the Residential School System was to educate, assimilate, and integrate Aboriginal people into Canadian society. In the words of one government official, it was a system designed “to kill the Indian in the child.”

• Attendance at residential schools was mandatory for Aboriginal children across Canada, and failure to send children to residential school often resulted in the punishment of parents, including imprisonment.

• The federal government and churches operated over 130 residential schools across Canada. The number of active schools peaked in 1931 at 80. The last federally-administered residential school closed in 1996.

• The federal government currently recognizes that 132 federally-supported residential schools existed across Canada. This number does not recognize those residential schools that were administered by provincial/territorial governments and churches.

• Over 150,000 children (some as young as 4 years old) attended federally-administered residential schools.

• It is estimated that there are approximately 80,000 Residential School Survivors alive today.

Residential School Experience

• Many Aboriginal children were taken from their homes, often forcibly removed and separated from their families by long distances. Others who attended residential schools near their communities were often prohibited from seeing their families outside of occasional permitted visits.

• Students were forbidden to speak their language or practice their culture, and were often punished for doing so.
• Many students were forced to do manual labour, and were fed poor quality food. There are many accounts of students being provided moldy, maggot-infested and rotten foods.

• Other experiences reported from Survivors of residential schools include sexual and mental abuse, beatings and severe punishments, overcrowding, illness, children forced to sleep outside in the winter, the forced wearing of soiled underwear on the head or wet bed sheets on the body, use of students in medical experiments, disease and in some cases death.

• Many students received a sub-standard education. As late as 1950, according to a study by the Department of Indian Affairs, over 40 per cent of the teaching staff had no professional training.

• Some students have spoken of the positive experiences of residential schools, and of receiving an adequate education. However, overall it was a negative experience as indicated by various statements of apology issued by the churches and federal government.y students were forced to do manual labour, and were fed

Many students were forced to do manual labour, and were fed poor quality food.
Many students received a sub-standard education. As late as 1950, according to a study by the Department of Indian Affairs, over 40 percent of the teaching staff had no professional training.
Some students have spoken of positive experiences of residential schools, but overall it was a negative experience.
7) We now know that over 4000 children and counting died while attending these schools.
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